Millers: New boy Harrad shines in Rotherham United away triumph

Off to a flier: Debutant Shaun Harrad celebrates his ninth minute opener.  Pictures: Paul Wickson
Off to a flier: Debutant Shaun Harrad celebrates his ninth minute opener. Pictures: Paul Wickson
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THIS game represented the start of an important little spell of four games for the Millers - three of them away from home, writes Les Payne.

They needed a decent return from this quartet to keep in touch with the Play-off places otherwise those hopes will have been damaged considerably.

Well it began superbly with an excellent performance - indeed their best of the season - to secure a splendid win which stopped Paul Sturrock’s side going back to the top.

New signing Shaun Harrad took just nine minutes to mark his debut with a well-taken opener and a win they worked for and thoroughly deserved, was clinched by Alex Revell’s ninth of the season with eight minutes to go.

This must be the sort of performance that Andy Scott had intended right from the start of the season.

The Essex club had enlisted volunteers to join in late this week and clear a layer of three inches of snow off the pitch - the club estimating they shifted around 30 tons so that they could get it on.

For the hardy 123 Millers followers who braved the freezing conditions there was something of a surprise with top scorer Lewis Grabban on the bench so as to give an instant debut to Harrad.

The home side could have led before Harrad’s smartly taken goal in the ninth minute.

A fantastic save by Rhys Taylor, tipping over a point blank range header from Hall, prevented the Millers conceding a crucial early goal in the fourth minute.

They then went and got one themselves.

Harrad, on the edge of the area, attempted to find Wood. The ball rebounded back to the striker who took a touch for control, he had half-a-yard of space and needed no second invitation with an opportunist effort, struck sharply past the keeper’s right hand.

What a great start for the newcomer and in the next minute, the Millers had a big slice of luck.

A corner was flicked on, was then headed by Naylor a few yards where upon it hit Taylor on the head and bounced to Benyon in the six yard at which point the flag went up as he knocked it home. Obviously the officials reacted as if a Southend player had headed the ball when it was two Millers players!

Harrad showed his sharpness in the area when he reacted well as Cadogan crossed and the little striker got across his marker for a header which forced a save from Morris.

The Millers showed resilience in their defending and had Taylor reliable in goal.

When Naylor made an important block from a Timlin shot, the ball ran away to Hall and Taylor diverted his effort away with a leg.

The busy Wood forced Morris to save from 20 yards and although Southend were menacing, the Millers stood up to the task well in an encouraging display on a pitch that appeared to be hardening up as the temperaturer plummeted.

The giant Mohsni, a dangfer at set-pieces, should have done better with a header from a free-kick and saw a header from a corner strike the outside of a post.

A 25 yard volley from Grant had Taylor saving sharply but that was an indication of how the home side were kept at bay with the Millers in Southend faces all over the pitch.

Wood’s 22yarder forced a diving save and Grabban had a chance for a second but elected to shoot first time and he miscued the effort.

However, a Millers clincher did come eight minutes from time.

Revell got it, picking up possession before working his way into a shooting position and rifling a low 20 yarder which went in off the keeper’s right hand post and the one-time Southend man wheeled away to celebrate his third goal in four matches.

* SOUTHEND UNITED: Morris, Clohessy Mohsni, Barker, Gilbert; Grant, Kalala Martin 61), Timlin; Hall, Dickinson (Sampson 71), Benyon Harris 71). Subs: Ferdinand, Baldwin.

* ROTHERHAM UNITED: R Taylor; Bradley, Mullins, Naylor, Griffiths; Cadogan (Grabban 61), Harrison, J Taylor, Wood; Revell, Harrad. Subs: Warrington, Tonge, Cresswell, Schofield.

* GOALS: Harrad 9, Revell 82

* REFEREE: Iain Wiliamson (Berks).